The Camas School Board has unanimously approved a purchase of 81 acres of land from the Department of Natural Resources for future school construction.
“The DNR property acquisition is a significant deal for us, securing 80 acres for future schools,” said longtime School Board member Doug Quinn.
The property, located at 232nd Avenue and 28th Street, was identified in a 2008 legislative study as suitable for a school site. The parcel was managed by the state Department of Natural Resources for the Common School Trust, which helps fund school construction projects statewide, according to a press release.
The district will pay the trust $1.13 million for the parcel’s appraised value.
“The benefit for high growth school districts like Camas to purchase site suitable Department of Natural Resource Trust-Land at appraised value is immeasurable,” said Mike Nerland, Camas superintendent. “In high growth districts like ours there is a strong demand for land. School districts are limited because, by law, we cannot purchase property for more than the appraised value.”
The land value amount will be put into an account to purchase replacement land for the trust, while the timber value is deposited with the Superintendent of Public Instruction, for distribution to school construction statewide.
Quinn recalled that in 2007, he was appointed to a joint legislative committee, which was responsible for evaluating the possibility of sales of state trust lands to school districts that met certain high growth criteria.
In 2009, the study was submitted to the legislature and its recommendations were subsequently adopted, authorizing the Commissioner of Public Lands to make such sales.
“Camas fits the definition of a high growth district and has three possible trust land options identified in the district; the 80-acre parcel being the closest and largest,” he said.
The district applied to the state for consideration of sale in the fall, and after appraisal and review at a public meeting in January, the sale was authorized by Peter Goldmark, the commissioner of public lands.
Quinn noted that nine years ago, purchasing the parcel seemed like something in the distant future.
“It is great to see prior work finally paying off and to soon have in our holdings property that will provide ample room for future schools; possibly even other community partners such as the city,” he said. “Back in 2007, the parcel seemed so distant but time has changed that. It’s good to be paying attention to our future and staying out front on protecting the interests of schools.”